By Jane Wakefield: Technology reporter, TEDGlobal, Edinburgh
Children in developing countries could educate themselves using computers, the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh has been told.
Prof Sugata Mitra was outlining details of the first “school in the cloud”.
While there would be an online adult moderator at times, the pupils would largely organise themselves, he said.
Meanwhile, an MIT professor laid out his vision of bringing the very best university education to some of the poorest parts of the world.
Prof Anant Agarwai already has one million students enrolled in his online school, edX, an online platform offering courses from some of the highest-profile universities.
He started the non-profit website because he believed it was time for a radical shake-up of education.
“Education has not changed in 500 years – we still herd children like cats into classrooms at 9am.”
Such a model might work to a certain extent in the developed world but for many parts of the world, another way of doing things is needed.
The edX platform now has 27 university partners, all offering online courses in a wide range of subjects.
“For the first time, learners are able to take course from some of the best professors in the world,” said Prof Agarwai.
The cost of running the platform has been boosted with investments of $60m (£38m) from MIT and Harvard universities and the site is hoping to fund itself in the future by licensing some of the online courses back to universities to offer a more blended learning experience for all students. Read further